Corinthians College Education essay example
Because not much at all has been mentioned about Corinthians, I choose focus on Corinthians. All we knew about Corinthians was that she was the eldest daughter, she made roses with Magdalene called Lena, and that they both enjoyed Sunday car rides in their father's Packard. We also gathered a tidbit about their feelings towards their brother when he looked at them after the incident where he hit his father. "Milkman looked at his sisters. He had never been able to really distinguish them (or their roles) from his mother... Now when he met his sisters' eyes over the table, they returned him a look of hatred so fresh, so new it startled him" (68).
The rest of the story until the end of Part I, pretty much ignores his sisters. His sisters, however, were stuck in the plot for a reason. One of the reasons Corinthians's tory is placed in the narrative is to show more about the social hierarchy of the times. Corinthians has a college education and can speak French fluently, yet she is unmarried and does housework for a living.
This is ironic because people go to college in order to have better lives, but Morrison shows how Corinthians' college education simply. ".. unfit her for eighty percent of the useful work of the world. First, by training her for leisure time, enrichment's, and domestic mindlessness. Second, by a clear implication that she was too good for such work. After graduation she returned to a work world in which colored girls, regardless of their background, were in demand for one and only one kind of work" (189). Corinthians is black, and she is a woman, causing her to be doubly handicapped in the professional world.
Furthermore, using Corinthians, Morrison shows how the fates of black people lay in the hands of white people. At first, Michael-Mary Graham was going to reject Corinthians for work because she didn't look hardy enough, but after hearing her name, she hired her on the spot. And she likes to brag about it, saying that "her poetic sensibility overwhelmed her good judgment" (192). She also likes to brag that she can give her maid a copy of Walden for Christmas. First of all, it was luck and the whimsies of Miss Graham that landed Corinthians a job. Morrison also has the opportunity to make a social commentary about Miss Graham: she is frivolous and pretentious.
The juxtaposition of a college-educated woman being the maid of the state poet laureate is a conspicuously unfair combination. Corinthians's tory also provides a deeper examination of the way Macon brought up his children. Macon rules supreme over the family, bosses everybody around, and keeps things the way he believes they should be. He doesn't allow for individualism in the family. All the members of his family (even Milkman) are his puppets.
Corinthians, being the eldest daughter, is the first to attempt to break through this hold that her father has on them. Her attempt is important because Macon is a manipulative, controlling liar and a tyrant and his kids (though they are all adults, they are still treated like children) are like slaves that need to be freed. Lena, too, is on Corinthians's ide and also has the desire to change the family dynamics. We see this when Lena berates Milkman for telling on Corinthians and rebukes him for being just like their father.